Monday, February 10, 2014

Open Water, Icebergs, Ships and Wildlife

We've had a lot of ships visit us the past few weeks.  This ship, the Arctic P, is owned by Australian Billionaire James Parker and was converted into a yacht.  We took most of these ship photos out our dorm room window.

 This Russian cruise ship the Akademik Shokalskiy, arrived 4 days later and got permission to bring their passengers to town for a tour of the station.  This is the same ship that got so much news coverage when they were stuck in the ice on Christmas Eve, 1500 miles south of Tasmania.  The Chinese and Australians tried to rescue them and the Polar Star was sent to assist, but was called to stand down when the ships were eventually freed from the ice a few weeks later.

Here are passengers from the Akademik Shokalsiy being transported to shore via dingy.  

Here's the US Coast Guard Cutter the Polar Star docked at the ice pier.

Here's the MV Maersk Peary leaving the area after providing us with around 3,535,000 gallons of fuel.
  
Here are some photos near Scott Base, where we've never seen open water before.

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Here's a video of a couple of Weddell Seals. It's pretty fun to watch them move.

On January 31, our re-supply vessel the Maersk Illinois arrived at our ice pier.

Here's a better photo with the sun on it.  With the arrival of this ship, many departments had to work 12 hour days without a day off until the ship was offloaded and uploaded.  Dave only had to work 6 days in a row, since our department doesn't deal with the upload.  

Our job for offload consists of building all the cargo for the South Pole station they need before they close for the winter.  Here are Mary & Danny building crates of frozen food for the South Pole.

Unfortunately a storm moved in during the upload process forcing the ship to leave early.  Here's the Polar Star coming in to assist with helping them to leave.  The winds were so strong though it was nearly 30 more hours before they could pull away from the pier and begin their journey back to the states.

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Here's a video of the wind, the waves and the Polar Star coming around Hut Point.

After the Maersk Illinois left, this is what was left of our ice pier as the waves take their toll on it.

In this photo you can see the deteriorated ice pier with the bollards under water and the pier in three pieces.  There are also some small icebergs that moved in around the pier.

Here's a shot overlooking McMurdo Station with icebergs floating by.
 
These icebergs are near Scott Base, but moved past McMurdo about 24 hours later.

This photo of Scott Base was taken on January 31.

This photo, with Scott Base on the point taken February 9, shows how much of the Ross Ice Shelf has broken off in 9 days,

While checking out the icebergs, Dave came across these Adele Penguins,

Another photo of the penguins with open water near Scott Base.

The snow road on the left is the road Kelly takes to work at the airfield every day.  You can see the open water on the right is getting closer to the road.  We sure hope it doesn't continue to move closer to the road, or we'll be faced with further challenges.

While Dave was updating the blog tonight he watched the sun move across the Mountains... 

...and the icebergs move past Mount Discovery.

Eventually the icebergs made their way around the MV Hanseatic, which was anchored just off station.

After some of them got close enough to touch the ship, they pulled in the anchor and moved out past Hut Point.  They'll be back later today to tour the station.